What Microphone Sounds Best With Your Voice

Have you ever wondered what microphone sounds best with your voice? At Podcast Movement 2017 in Anaheim, California, I was invited to work at the Podcast Engineering School booth where we set up 10 different microphones, all in a row, so people could sit down and try each one.

Mic Test

We recorded the mic test and then emailed the mp3 file to each person so they could listen to the recording later in a quieter environment. I did the test multiple times myself and was pleasantly surprised how some of the lower priced mics sounded. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a decent microphone, especially if you’re just getting started and may not have the budget for a really high-end mic. Here’s a list of all the mics we tried:

Behringer XM1800s $39 (3-Pack)  Yes, there are 3 mics in a handy carrying case.
AKG c1000s $199  Condenser microphone which requires Phantom power or two AA batteries.
Audio-Technica ATR 2100 $64.59  This mic is popular with podcasters and is both USB and XLR compatible.
Sennheiser E835 $99.95
Audio-Technica BP40 $349
Blue Yeti Pro $249  This mic is also USB and XLR compatible.
Blue Spark $199
Electro-Voice RE320 $299
Electro-Voice RE20 $449  Has traditionally been used as a radio DJ mic.
Shure SM7B $399  This vocal mic was preferred by Michael Jackson and he used it on the Thriller album.
Heil PR40 $308  Another popular mic in the podcasting community.

RE320 and RE20

I personally had never tried the Audio-Technica ATR 2100 and was always curious. It’s a decent entry level mic and people like that it is USB. Even the Behringer XM1800s mics weren’t bad and you get a 3-pack and a carrying case! So which mic is the best? Well, like choosing a wine, you just have to decide for yourself, which one you like. Every voice is unique and what works for one person doesn’t always work for someone else. None of these mics were terrible but there were differences. I listened to over a hundred people try these mics and one size does not fit all. Before you purchase a microphone, try it first and make sure you like how it sounds. If you can, try multiple mics so you have a comparison.  Most music equipment stores have a mic booth where you can try before you buy. Happy recording!

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Best Tip to Record Better Sound for Vloggers

iRig Microphone Lav box

If the sound on your vlog seems far away or has an echo, the best tip is getting the microphone closer to your mouth when speaking. This is what separates the professional quality video from the amateur. When you hold up your phone or camera at arm’s length away, the built-in microphone records your voice but it also captures the other noises in the room too. Having the mic closer to the person speaking makes them easier to understand and even helps when recording in noisy environments.

iRig lav microphone

Whether you’re doing Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, Snapchat or YouTube, this will take your video to the next level. I recommend getting a wired lavalier microphone that you can plug into the headphone jack on your phone and clip on your shirt or blouse. It puts the mic right where it needs to be which is in the middle of your chest near your sternum. The mic is usually just out of the camera’s view and people don’t even know you’re wearing it but it sounds so much better. There are a number of companies that make wired mics but the one I bought is from IK Multimedia called the iRig Mic lav.  A lav or lavaliere mic is a small microphone that clips onto your clothing.

iRig Lav Microphone Carrying Case

It comes in a little carrying case and has a small foam windscreen that fits over the end to help with breath noises and light breezes if you’re outside. You can even buy a two-pack microphone set and add an additional mic. This allows two people to connect their microphones to the same phone at the same time.

iRig lav mic clipped to shirt

For a more professional sound on your live or recorded vlog, get the microphone close to the person speaking with a wired lav mic. If you have questions on more ways to make your videos more professional, please email me. Happy recording!

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